Ben playing on boatKids with word-finding difficulties are fascinating to me. Sometimes I feel like I get a peek into their retrieval process as I try to decipher what they mean when they use a word that is associated to the one they intended. This week I was listening to a little boy re-tell a story when he said, “She’s gonna ‘verse’ him.” Usually, his words are close enough to the intended word that I have no problem understanding he meaning of his discourse. But this time I had to ask him to explain. He simple said, “She is versus him,” in the context of she was going to “race” him! He inspires me to keep finding great evidence-based activities to help in with accurate word retrieval.

On that note, this week I was talking to a good friend, Jan Schwanke, who happens to be a speech-language pathologist specializing in Word-finding (WF) therapy. She has worked closely with Diane German, doing research and presenting at ASHA. I was asking her for new ideas for therapy to build word retrieval in fun and effective ways.

I wanted to share her new, growing website which is a great resource for Word-finding therapy. The authors of this website aim to provide a place where SLP’s can share their ideas for therapy including a growing list of phonemic or mnemonic cues. Helpful charts contain common vocabulary, divided by school age groups–Pre-Primary (K-2), Intermediate (3-5), Middle School (6-8), and High School–listed alphabetically. The idea is to check this list before re-inventing the wheel, and if your target word isn’t listed, add it with your ideas to share for the next SLP!

Does your student have trouble coming up with “diverse” in science class? Try the cue, “divers” with a picture of two synchronized divers going into a pool. Studying Appalachia in a social studies land form unit? Try giving your student a visual and auditory cue of “apple on a plate.”

The site includes ideas gathered from therapists under “I Need a Cue” and instructions on “How to Add Information” as well. According to the website, “On our ‘How to Add Information’ page, we offer a step-by-step tutorial to help you add your ideas. This same page explains how to use Dr. Diane German’s phonemic or mnemonic cues. Research supports the efficacy of using these cues for children and adults with word-finding difficulties.”

So make use of this budding resource and add your tips to the list so we can all benefit.

Any other therapy sources for word-finding therapy that you find beneficial?